Having a bad day can impair our judgment and lead to most of us making not-so-wise lifestyle choices like binge eating, smoking, or drinking. These unhealthy habits done in excess can negatively affect our health, especially our blood pressure. As one in four Americans continue to suffer from the epidemic of high blood pressure, it is imperative for us to effectively avoid and reduce this highly preventable disease associated with heart attack and stroke, aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. Fortunately, there are ways to bring down blood pressure without the use of medication.

I would not recommend changing BP medications every 3-4 months just to prevent the onset of potential side-effects, but it certainly makes sense to reassess how you are doing on a BP med after a certain interval (usually after a few weeks, and then every few months or more often if the dose still needs to be refined or if there is concern about potential side-effects).
Thank you so much for your highly informative article on hypertension for seniors–the best one that I have read. Presently, my wife, age 78, weight 98 lbs., height 4′ 11″, has been on a 4 m Atacand (brand name) per day for close to ten years now. Healthwise, I was concerned about its side effects on her. Pricewise, it is a very, very costly drug and our plan now requires her to pay a newly required deductible of $350 before reaching a new copay that has also become more expensive as well. She does not smoke or drink. Her family doctor has suggested that she switches to a generic brand Atacand but she prefers not to risk with its poorer bioavailability. Is such a preference valid? Are there any benefits in a generic that would outweigh its bioavailability constraint? Is there any alternative brand name drug that would offer her a good transition? Thank you kindly again for sharing the above highly informative, useful, and rare article regarding hypertension for seniors. I’d look forward to your reply with great appreciation–if I may.
Stress hormones constrict your blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. In addition, over time, stress can trigger unhealthy habits that put your cardiovascular health at risk. These might include overeating, poor sleep, and misusing drugs and alcohol. For all these reasons, reducing stress should be a priority if you're looking to lower your blood pressure.
“Beware of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 'Salty Six' — six popular foods that can add high levels of sodium to your diet,” says Rachel Johnson, PhD, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington and the former chair of the AHA’s nutrition committee. The Salty Six include breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, sandwiches, pizza, soup, and chicken.
Stress hormones constrict your blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. In addition, over time, stress can trigger unhealthy habits that put your cardiovascular health at risk. These might include overeating, poor sleep, and misusing drugs and alcohol. For all these reasons, reducing stress should be a priority if you're looking to lower your blood pressure.

Eat dark chocolate. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are both full of heart-healthy plant compounds called flavonoids. Flavonoids are good for you because they cause your blood vessels to dilate, which can help lower blood pressure. Just make sure your chocolate doesn’t have too much sugar. Choose chocolate that is at least 70 percent dark for best results. You can buy individually wrapped chocolate pieces that are the perfect size. Eat one or two a day and enjoy the delicious heart-protective effects.
What is considered low depends a bit on the person, their medical history, and the particular circumstances. It is also important to compare a person’s blood pressure to his or her “usual blood pressure.” A SBP of 102 is different in a young woman who usually has SBP 100-105, compared to an older person who has historically registered SBPs of 130-150.
2. Take an omega-3 oil. Omega 6:3 ratio is important. A lot of us get way too much omega-6 in our diets, which is what's caused the omega-3 craze. Refined vegetable oil is one of the main culprits, and found in almost all processed foods, and even some orange juices. Because we have way too much omega-6 in our systems, we need to compensate by taking some form of omega-3 oil. Decreasing your intake of processed foods will have a similar effect.
2. Ayurveda Die: Improper diet also contributes towards the unhealthy condition of the body. Eat a balanced diet and avoid the consumption of salt and sugar, pickles, alcohol, caffeine, tomatoes, and fatty foods to regulate high BP. Include ginger, green leafy veggies, yogurt, berries, oatmeal, onion, amla, Omega-3 fatty acid, beetroot, Vitamin C rich fruits, herbs, garlic, seeds, cucumber, bananas, pomegranate, nuts, avocados and olive oil, in your meals.
Studying men with hypertension who came to Pritikin, scientists at UCLA found that within three weeks, the men had significantly healthier levels of blood pressure. In fact, those who arrived at Pritikin taking hypertension drugs left Pritikin two to three weeks later no longer needing their medications, or with their dosages significantly reduced.1

There are many popular medical myths about high blood pressure. For example, many physicians believe that high blood pressure is an “inevitable consequence of aging;” that the “only viable treatment option for high blood pressure patients is medication”; that high blood pressure patients must take their medications “for the rest of their lives”; and, worst of all, that high blood pressure medications are “safe and effective.”
Reduce your fat and sugar intake: Maintaining a healthy weight for your body type helps keep blood pressure under control. It has been proven that losing excess weight can drastically lower blood pressure values. When obesity and hypertension are coupled together, it can lead to some dangerous long-term health effects that could eventually be fatal in the long run. It is estimated that about 36.5 Americans are obese, with the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar being the main culprit. It is important to make weight loss a priority when treating your high blood pressure.
Glad you’ve found the information here helpful. Sounds like you are being very thoughtful and proactive about maintaining your health. Wonderful that your Medicare plan is covering an exercise program with a trainer! It’s true that as one gets older, being more deliberate and purposeful about exercise and strength work becomes more important. good luck and take care!
Taking a few moments to concentrate on breathing deeply can be a great help. Meditation and yoga are other great activities to reduce stress. We recommend Yoga Burn, by Zoe Bray Cotton for an amazing at-home yoga workout.  In the long term, creating a routine that including one or more of these stress reduction techniques will be important to keep your blood pressure down in normal levels. [2]

Meditate or take slow, steady deep breaths to calm the nervous system, relax and your dilate blood vessels. Breathing exercises help calm your sympathetic nervous system and your fight-or-flight response. This technique also encourages blood flow to your body’s tissues and causes your diaphragm to move up and down, which eases blood flow to your heart. 

Some research on watermelon extract and high blood pressure suggests the amino acid citrulline found in the fruit may help manage high blood pressure. One study found those who took watermelon extract showed reduced blood pressure specifically in the ankles and arm arteries. Other studies on mice also show watermelon’s positive effect. Although more research is needed to determine the specifics, eating fruit like watermelon isn’t going to hurt.
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People who cooked with a blend of the two oils (available at health food stores) saw a drop in blood pressure almost comparable with the decrease that results from taking medication, according to research from the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions. Researchers believe the effect is due to the oils’ fatty acids and antioxidants such as sesamin, sesamol, sesamolin, and oryzanol.

3) Coconut water. Rich in potassium, electrolytes, and other important nutrients, coconut water has been shown to help significantly lower blood pressure levels in most of the people that drink it. A recent study published in the West Indian Medical Journal found that drinking coconut water helped 71 percent of participants achieve a significant reduction in systolic pressure, and 29 percent of participants achieve a significant reduction in diastolic pressure. The results were even more amplified when participants drank both coconut water and mauby, a tropical drink made from buckthorn tree bark.


Developed thousands of years ago in India, Ayurveda is the sister philosophy of yoga, the medication form of it. The therapies and treatments work after the identification of an individual’s Dosha- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Dosha imbalance is the foremost reason for any health issues and hypertension is the result of the imbalance of the two doshas- Vata and Pitta.
As high blood pressure often goes unnoticed, it’s common for people to live with it unawares for some time. As it’s a risk factor, it may be wise to check your blood pressure every few years, even if you’re feeling healthy in general. This advice is especially directed towards people who are middle-aged or older, as high blood pressure is more common with age.
What is considered low depends a bit on the person, their medical history, and the particular circumstances. It is also important to compare a person’s blood pressure to his or her “usual blood pressure.” A SBP of 102 is different in a young woman who usually has SBP 100-105, compared to an older person who has historically registered SBPs of 130-150.
While you shouldn't shrug off the change, there's also no need to panic. "Obviously, nothing happened overnight inside a woman's body or to her health with the release of the guidelines," says Dr. Naomi Fisher, director of hypertension service and hypertension innovation at the Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Coconut water: A great beverage on hot days, coconut water is rich in minerals and nutrients. It contains many electrolytes essential for the body, such as potassium, and has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure in most people who drink it. A study published in West Indian Medical Journal found that drinking coconut water helped 71 percent of participants achieve a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure, and 29 percent of participants achieves a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure
Exercise is the soulmate to eating right. You’re more likely to lose weight if you exercise and follow a healthy diet. Official recommendations call for at least half an hour of exercise most days of the week. The effects can be dramatic: Blood pressure drops of 4 to 9 points. Remember that exercise isn’t just going to the gym. It can be gardening, washing your car, or housework. But things that get your heart rate up -- aerobic activities -- like walking, dancing, jogging, riding your bike, and swimming are best for your heart.
I am a 55 year old woman who was diagnosed with hbp about 5 years ago. I also have degenerative arthritis in my hips, in particular,and have had to keep up with strength training exercises over the past 20 years to ward off the pain. When first diagnosed with hpb, my doctor put me on Benicar. It helped immediately but I also began to experience some severe muscle and joint pain in my hips and legs. She switched me to Valsartan and the pain abided for about 2 months. Then came back again. Fast forward to last fall when I had a left hip replacement. Recovery was slow, especially for my age. I kept stumping the PT as to why my muscle tension was so tight. Finally, after I started working out at the gym, my pain resided. Counter intuitive, I know. Now I am scheduled to have a right hip replacement in November 2018 and am experiencing intermittent excruciating pain in my quads and tibia. I’ve been reading about an uncommon side effect of bp meds being muscle and joint pain. I’m wondering how much the bp meds are contributing to my pain. Would it be unreasonable to try switching bp meds every 3/4 months? Thank you for any advice you can provide.

I just found this site while reading the Washington Post article, and I so hope there is some help for me. I will be 71 in a couple of weeks. I am a congenital heart survivor, having surgical repair by Dr. Cooley in 1960 at the age of 12. I learned a few years ago that I have a “showering” of micro hemorrhages in my brain from the heart lung machine not being “neuroprotective”… That news was shocking and traumatizing. As a child I expected to die. Both my young brothers died of other congenital illnesses. At any rate that apparently puts me at higher than normal stroke risk.


If you’re eating more fruits and vegetables, you’re already taking a positive step toward reducing salt and enhancing potassium intake. Sodium can be found in abundance in processed foods – anything that comes in a package, can, or especially from a fast food restaurant. If you’re over 50, or at higher risk, aim for no more than 1,500 mg/day. Check your food labels for sodium content. If you see that a food has more than 400-500 mg in a serving, see if there’s a lower-sodium option.
I have been doing a search to find information I can trust about my high BP, and I am so glad I found you! Your information and links to more have answered my questions, hardly addressed by my doctors and pharmacists. I am an 87-year-old female in generally excellent health, eating properly and on the move. I get moderate exercise and have just now started a program with a trainer–paid for by my Medicare provider! I don’t want to lose strength or the ability to teach, write, and get around.
If you suddenly find yourself with high blood pressure (hypertension) under the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, you might be wondering what to do. The guidelines, which were released in November, lowered the definition for high blood pressure to 130/80 from 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), meaning more women now meet the criteria for stage 1 hypertension.

But the dark chocolate should be 60 to 70 percent cacao. A review of studies on dark chocolate has found that eating one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and inflammation. The benefits are thought to come from the flavonoids present in chocolate with more cocoa solids. The flavonoids help dilate, or widen, your blood vessels (25).
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet has been proven best for controlling blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.  People who follow the diet eat 2,000 calories a day of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods and whole grains. The diet is rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as protein and fiber, and low in sodium. Foods on the diet are low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol.
Research on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet shows that eating at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day can reduce blood pressure about as much as medication. Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium, which helps to balance sodium in your cells to reduce pressure in your blood vessel and has shown to lower risk for stroke. Try to incorporate at least one piece or serving of a fruit or vegetable (or both) into each snack, and include about ½ plate of fruits and vegetables into all your meals.
Bananas are one great source of potassium, but there are other tasty ways to get your fill. Potatoes actually pack more potassium than the yellow fruit (and you might be surprised to learn there are plenty of other health benefits of potatoes, too). Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew, and dried fruits like prunes or raisins are other good sources. In all, you should aim to get 2,000 to 4,000 mg of potassium a day, Van Horn recommends.
Developed thousands of years ago in India, Ayurveda is the sister philosophy of yoga, the medication form of it. The therapies and treatments work after the identification of an individual’s Dosha- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Dosha imbalance is the foremost reason for any health issues and hypertension is the result of the imbalance of the two doshas- Vata and Pitta.
5) Turmeric. Modern science is just barely hitting the tip of the iceberg concerning the superfood capacity of turmeric, also commonly known as curcumin. But one of the herb's already known benefits concerns its abilities to significantly decrease inflammation throughout the body, which is a primary cause of high cholesterol and even high blood pressure. By actively reducing inflammation, turmeric helps improve cardiovascular function and maintain healthy blood flow.
Your circulatory system is very much like the hot tub’s. Your blood is like the water. Your heart is like the pump, and your blood vessels are like the pipes. Your heart pumps your blood through the circulatory system in order to feed oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout your body, and to remove waste products. By circulating through the system, your blood is filtered and re-utilized, again and again.
Pickering TG, et al. Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals: Part 1: blood pressure measurement in humans: a statement for professionals from the Subcommittee of Professional and Public Education of the American Heart Association Council on High Blood Pressure Research. Hypertension. 2005 Jan;45(1):142-61.
Well, it sounds like you started with one BP med in the angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) class, and then your doctor switched you to another drug in that same class. These drugs do affect potassium, which can affect muscle function but otherwise, I haven’t heard of them being particularly associated with joint pain, and I didn’t see much mention of this when I looked just now in my clinical reference (Uptodate.com).
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
According to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, the goal of blood pressure treatment is to attain a blood pressure reading that's less than 130/80 mmHg systolic and less than 80mmHg diastolic. In general, if you have hypertension, it is likely that you will need to be treated for the duration of your life to maintain this target blood pressure. 
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